Psalm 111 (NLT)
The Wonderful Works of the Lord
Many commentators note the connection between Psalms 111 and 112. James Montgomery Boice observed, “the two psalms are an obviously matched pair. The first is an acrostic poem about God; the second is an acrostic poem about the godly man.”
I love to read this psalm out loud — loudly, gratefully, proclaiming it to myself and to God– practicing for Heaven!
1 Praise the Lord!
In Hebrew, Hallelujah! The declaration has the sense of encouraging others to do the same—I will praise the LORD, you should also.
I will thank the Lord with all my heart
as I meet with his godly people.
2 How amazing are the deeds of the Lord!
All who delight in him should ponder them.
“In design, in size, in number, in excellence, all the works of the Lord are great. Even the little things of God are great.”
–Charles Haddon Spurgeon
3 Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty.
His righteousness never fails.
4 He causes us to remember his wonderful works.
How gracious and merciful is our Lord!
“The word zeker (‘remembrance’; NIV, ‘to be remembered’) is a noun in Hebrew. It connotes the act of ‘proclamation.’ Israel not only remembered but proclaimed what God had done.”
–Willem A. VanGemeren
from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael
Psalm 111:4 — The merciful and gracious Lord hath so done His marvelous works: that they ought to be had in remembrance.
Do you ever thank God for His daily preservations? For every time the car goes out and returns in safety? For His gift, guarded so wonderfully, of sight, hearing, speech, feeling, power to walk and run and work, and to enjoy life?
Don’t wait till “something happens” that we must pray about, but praise for every day that “nothing happens.” And when there is some very special lovingkindness, remember the great word: The merciful and gracious Lord hath so done His marvelous works: that they ought to be had in remembrance.
5 He gives food to those who fear him;
he always remembers his covenant.
6 He has shown his great power to his people
by giving them the lands of other nations.
I believe that this psalm wants to draw our attention back to God’s work on behalf of his people in Exodus through Joshua. The reference to God’s grace and mercy (verse 4) reminds us of the revelation of God’s name in Exodus 34. His redemption (verse 9) takes us to the exodus, his precepts (verse 7) to Sinai, the provision of food (verse 5) to the wilderness wandering, his inheritance (verse 6) to the Promised Land.
7 All he does is just and good,
and all his commandments are trustworthy.
8 They are forever true,
to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.
They sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb:
“Great and marvelous are your deeds,
Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
King of the ages.”
9 He has paid a full ransom for his people.
He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever.
What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has!
10 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom.
All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.
But wait, we’re not just supposed to remember these wondrous deeds. This psalm is not merely about the past. We’re also directed to the future with five “forevers.”
- His righteousness endures forever (verse 3)
- He remembers his covenant forever (verse 5)
- His precepts are established forever (verse 8)
- He commands his covenant forever (verse 9)
- His praise endures forever (verse 10)
These “forevers” remind us that there were greater works yet to come, works that we also do well to remember and study with delight.
Praise him forever!
Taking into account the greatness of God’s works, we should praise Him, and never stop praising Him!
The angels surrounding God’s throne see His greatness of His works, and they never stop praising Him!
HERE is my favorite praise hymn, “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation,” presented in a vintage recording of the St. Olaf Choir. I sing this hymn nearly every day.
The author of the original German hymn, known as Lobe den Herren, is Joachim Neander (1650-1680), who studied theology in Bremen. Neander was a Calvinist educator who was also a hymn-writer. In 1674, Neander became the clergyman of the Latin School at Düsseldorf, a Calvinist German Reformed institution. John Julian, a hymnologist, referred to the German original as “a magnificent hymn of praise to God, perhaps the finest creation of its author.”
Catherine Winkworth introduced this hymn to the English-speaking world nearly three centuries later. Winkworth, the daughter of Henry Winkworth, was born in London in 1827, and died close to Geneva, Switzerland, in 1878. She was one of the most prominent 19th-century translators of German hymns. Most hymnals will include at least five or six of her translations.
And if you are like me, you will love THIS too — J.S. Bach’s Cantata Lobe den Herren, den maechtigen Koenig der Ehren, BWV 137. Karl Barth once explained how he imagined things might sound in heaven. What the angels would play for their own amusement would be Mozart, he said, but when it came to praising God, the music they’d perform would be Bach. I agree!
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.